Thirteen of us gathered in the woods on the solstice night for Blackthorn’s Yule celebrations. We created a circle of lights surrounded by trees with a Yule fire in the centre and began our ritual to welcome the light and the sun back to the world.
Then, on this the darkest, longest night we held our all night vigil around the fire to wait for the dawn and the sunrise. It was a long night and we kept awake by eating a mixture of vegetable curry, Pringles, biscuits, rice, baked potatoes, bacon butties and chocolate croissants all burnt to a crisp over the fire.
We heard owls flying around us all night and the breeze through the trees got stronger as we built up the fire, and kept watch. The trees were bare, the earth asleep, our night was black and cold as death.
We waited a long time for the first stirrings of dawn with the woods coming alive around us and we made our way to the hillside to watch for the sun. As at the summer solstice all was surrounded by mist and cloud as we welcomed the rebirth of the sun and, strangely, at the same time, the sheep in the opposite field formed themselves into a perfect circle.
The light grows stronger
The day grows longer
As the candles grow brighter
Our circle becomes lighter
And the darkness recedes once again